Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old Grandmas, Middle School Kids and ###ing Morons (not really related)

First class at Gompers Middle School was on Friday and what an awesome bunch of kids! At the end of the class they were clamoring to stay later, try randori and have practice three days a week instead of one. They also wanted to know when they would be ready to enter a tournament. They were far more attentive and appreciative than any group I have taught anywhere. Of course, this is a very large school and the first 16 kids to sign up got into the class so they were pretty motivated to be there, I guess. It was such a nice experience.  One of my former club members had sent bottles of water and power bars for the kids to have during and after practice and they must have thanked me five times each for coming, for a bottle of water, for a power bar and then a couple times more for teaching them judo.

I know with the latest movie out, Waiting for Superman, it's become even more popular to bash public schools. All I can say is that every person I have met at Gompers (which is about 16 kids, one teacher, one counselor and the principal) has been incredibly top notch and motivated. These folks are working their hardest in a very resource poor environment. When my husband was talking about how much the public schools needed last night, I said,
"Well, I went and taught a class at one of those schools today. What exactly did you do to help?"

He did not have an answer. It was worth teaching for that alone!

Next week is Ronda's turn to teach. They are really looking forward to it. Partly because of all of the embarrassing stories about her that I told them. She'll be as red as the mats!

[Oh, yeah, speaking of Ronda, Gary Butts told me to mention that she is available to do clinics. Someone mentioned flying in a clinician from thousands of miles away and when he asked why they didn't just ask Ronda,who lived much closer to them, the person said he didn't know she was available. So, yes, just post a note to her on Facebook, which seems to be where all of the young people practically live.]

Speaking of Gompers and young people, I was teaching and I said,
"I know all of you kids can do this. I used to say that I can do it and I am as old as your mother but then a student about your age very politely informed me one day that I was as old as his grandmother."

One of the students helpfully called out,
"My grandma is 49."

Of course, I am OLDER than his grandma.

Speaking of grandmas - I was out riding a bike today, from Santa Monica up to Malibu, which I do fairly often, now that I had my knee replaced. A few blocks from home, the 15th idiot of  the day walked out in front of me on the bike path (apparently, no one believes those NO PEDESTRIAN signs apply to them). Usually I can swerve around them but this particular idiot as I swerved to the left decided to keep walking. This left me two choices
  1. Slam into her going 15 miles an hour on a  bike
  2. Slam on the brakes and wipe out on the bike path

I did the latter. She apologized about 1,000 times, which made me feel SLIGHTLY less like slapping her. As I told me husband, my cuts and bruises will heal shortly and she'll probably always be stupid.

So, today, I walked a mile, biked about 16 miles and crashed on the pavement. Thanks to judo reflexes after 139,567 breakfalls, I picked myself up off the concrete with nothing but a bruised hand from jamming the breaks and a scraped elbow, and went on my merry way. This was after having taught judo yesterday.

It occurred to me that I am the exact age my grandmother was when I used to spend the night at her house. It was a big treat, spending the night at Grandma's house. My grandmother had the typical Catholic family back in the day - a Volkswagen family: a new baby every year and they all looked alike. So, there were a boatload of grandkids and every weekend one of them would stay overnight. My grandmother was about 40 pounds overweight, wore house dresses and panty hose. The most exercise she ever got was cooking lunch and dinner and then watching game shows on TV. I was very happy to visit. She had an attic to explore, a tire swing out back and a bunch of books. There was also an ice cream shop across the street where I could run over and get an ice cream cone.

The thought of my grandmother doing judo, riding a bike to another city or wiping out on the pavement would have struck me as insane. I am sure my grandma would have agreed with me.

So, what has changed? Is it all of those years of judo that kept me in shape?
Is it our society's view of aging?

What do you think?

For now, I am going to turn in because I scored a ticket to the TED talk in Santa Barbara tomorrow - which is yet another thing I can't see my grandmother doing.


Anonymous said...

So jealous you get to go to a TED talk!


Dr. AnnMaria said...

And it was very cool, too.

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